Today, I was stumped for a new blog topic, and took to Twitter for help.
I reached out and asked, “Help! Need some great ides for an upcoming blog post,” to which @TheGriefToolBox replied:
“A post from a berieved sibling on family dynamics following your sisters death, what worked and what did not would help others.”
So, I am taking their advice and sharing with you the shift in family dynamic after Jen’s passing.
I feel that the family dynamics changed a lot; more-so in the beginning, but still remain in effect today. I feel that everyone became more protective of each other. My Mom and Dad ask that I let them know when I get to work in the morning, and my Brother tells my parents if he will be home late. I feel we also are more concerned in bad weather, and try and avoid traveling on bad roads at all costs. I’ve noticed an increase in, “Drive safe,” “Be careful” and “Go slow,” from everyone in my family, and can feel the certainty behind it.
However, there are pros and cons to this need to protect. The pros are that we are now more cautious in our everyday lives, as we know the consequences all too well. On the flip side, you don’t want to be living your life in a bubble; may it be the bubble my parents put around Jim and myself, or ones we put around ourselves. You need to take chances. You need to learn from mistakes. And you need to get back up on that horse when you fall off.
“Fall down 7, stand up 8.”
There is a fine line between living you life by taking chances (falling in love, trying new food, moving far away), and living your life by being reckless (using drugs, disregard for authority, self harm), and it is key to know the difference between the two. Being in a bubble to protect you from all the hard realities of the world will benefit no one; however, after talking with many families, it seems to be one of the many automatic responses to the loss of a loved one.
Another shift in the family dynamics in my family is that we are more aware of each other’s feelings, especially around the 17th of each month. I know how my Mom, Dad and Brother all handle their grief, and what each person needs. Some like to be left alone, while others like to be out of the house for the day. No choice is wrong, but each is different, and that is perfectly okay.
I don’t believe there is a way to handle the shift in dynamics except to embrace it. Things will never be the same after the loss of a loved one, and it would be silly to expect that it would. Instead, if you can incorporate these new changes into your everyday life. Respect everyone’s feelings (even if you don’t agree with them) (unless someone if harming their self or others) as you would want them to do the same for you.